24 of the Craziest Foods at America’s State Fairs

Erica Gonzales
·Food & Travel Intern
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Photo: Iowa State Fair

As we all know, foods are generally more delicious when consumed in a large crowd of people gathered on straw-covered fields to celebrate agricultural life and to ride really fast-spinning rides with dazzling colored lights. 

This week, the Iowa State Fair introduced 15 new foods it is adding to this year’s experience. And these aren’t the corn dogs and chicken fingers you know and love, or the fried oreos (or fried anything really) you once laughed at but secretly crave. Take a look through the glorious creations along with our favorite fair foods of all time. 

Corn in a Cup: A shaved-down alternative to corn on the cob with mayo, chorizo and cheese topped off with a lemon wedge and what the fair calls “magic dust.” (Pictured above). Still delicious. Way easier to eat.

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Photo: Iowa State Fair

Apple Pie on a Stick: A quintessential American dessert, deep-fried and on a stick. 

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Photo: Iowa State Fair

Nacho Balls: They’re exactly what you think they are — all the must-have ingredients of nachos, rolled into a ball, and deep fried. Plus a side of melted cheese!

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Photo: Iowa State Fair

Toasted Coconut Caramel Cluster: Crumbled fudge and pretzel bits are bundled together under a blanket of frozen chocolate.

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Photo: Iowa State Fair

The Ultimate Bacon Explosion: 8 ounces of brisket entirely wrapped in bacon, covered in jalapeño cheese and barbecue sauce. Now that’s a lot more state-fair-like.

The Minnesota State Fair also released a list of 50 new food items you’ll find at this year’s fair. Here are some standouts:

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Photo: Minnesota State Fair

Burger Dog: Hamburger, hot dog, bacon, cheese, and a dash of jalapeño are blended together and molded and eaten as a traditional frankfurter.

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Photo: Minnesota State Fair

Italian Dessert Nachos: Cannoli chips replace tortilla chips, and are topped with ricotta cheese, fruit, chocolate, nuts, candy, and sprinkles, of course.

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Photo: Minnesota State Fair

Mac & Cheese Cupcake: Macaroni and cheese is wrapped and sprinkled with breadcrumbs and frosted with Cheez Whiz.

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Photo: Minnesota State Fair

Prime Rib To Go: Because who doesn’t want their prime rib to go? The steak is thinly sliced and stuffed in a soft bread cone with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Choose au jus, horseradish, or Parmesan as your dipping sauce.

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Photo: Minnesota State Fair

Totchos: Tater tots are covered in cheese, sour cream, scallions, and bacon bits, and come in chicken or beef varieties. Don’t worry though – it’s gluten free.

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Photo: Minnesota State Fair

Wine Fried Kalettes: Kale is battered, fried to as crisp in wine, and served with sweet chili Thai sauce. Looks like the green superfood has found another place to dwell besides your $9 smoothie.

But could these foods trump the eye-catching (and often stomach-turning) dishes we’ve seen elsewhere?

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Photo: San Diego County Fair

Deep Fried Starbucks – San Diego County Fair, 2015: Starbucks coffee is infused with pastry dough, fried, covered in sugar, and served with whipped cream.

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Photo: Texas State Fair

Deep Fried Milk and Cookies on a Stick – Texas, 2014: A custard made of blended milk, sugar, and cookies is covered with an egg wash and Japanese bread crumbs.

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Photo: Phil Denton/Flickr

Donut Burger – New York, 2011: Also known as “The Big Kahuna,” this burger has a quarter-pound patty nestled between two grilled glazed donuts. With a total of 1,500 calories, this sandwich lives up to its name.

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Photo: Indiana State Fair

Spaghetti Ice Cream – Indiana, 2012: At first look it seems like pasta and sauce, but look again. The noodles are gelato, the tomato sauce is actually made of strawberry, the Parmesan is white chocolate, and the meatballs are actually chocolate.

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Photo: Tom Censani/Flickr

Hot Beef Sundae – Tennessee, 2011: Marinated beef and mashed potatoes serve as ice cream, the gravy acts as chocolate syrup, grated cheese doubles as sprinkles, and a cherry tomato tops it all.

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Photo: Bob B. Brown/Flickr  

Pulled Pork Parfait – South Florida, 2011: These layers of pulled pork, mashed potatoes, and gravy in a cup almost had us fooled for ice cream.

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Photo: Tracy Hunter/Flickr

French Fry Coated Hot Dog – Texas: Eat your hotdog and side of fries at once, conveniently on a handheld stick.

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Photo: medea_material/Flickr

Deep Fried Beer – Texas, 2010: Little packets of dough filled with beer are deep-fried. Oddly enough, we can picture this as something you can snack on — rather than sip on — during a football game.

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Photo: @losangelescrook/Instagram

Deep Fried White Castle Burger – Orange County Fair, Calif.: Because a regular White Castle burger is not enough on its own, right?

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Photo: @s4mmie5am/Instagram

Chocolate Covered Scorpions – California and Arizona: These crunchy “treats” are deep-fried and covered in chocolate. In Arizona, non-scorpion fans could go for cricket, grasshoppers, or lizards.

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Photo: @kaylenmarkee/Instagram

Fried Alligator on a Stick – Illinois: Though strange, this grub is not entirely rare. It’s also appeared in last year’s Bite of Seattle and previous New Jersey state fairs (along with shark kebabs). The Illinois rendition was served Teriyaki style and apparently, some people say it tastes like pork.

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Photo: Cara Fealy Choate/Flickr

Chicken Fried Bacon – Texas: This lovechild of bacon and fried chicken can be enjoyed alone with a dip or layered within a cheeseburger.

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Photo: @lilqo/Instagram

Fried Jambalaya – Texas: These fried balls of the staple Cajun dish won the Big Tex best taste award in 2012.

More good eats from Yahoo Food:

Best ballpark eats to enjoy this summer

Best places to get lobster rolls